UW Basketball Losing Streak Reaching Epic Proportions

Dan Raley

As the Washington basketball team enters Pauley Pavilion, a place built on Johnny Wooden's epic success, they can't seem to shake failure. 

The Huskies have dropped seven consecutive games, which ranks among the top six worst losing streaks in school history. 

Fans and former UW players have been left in utter dismay as this group with its big-name recruits and Kentucky transfer began the season 10-2 and and have fallen apart to dip below .500 at 12-13 following Thursday night's 62-56 setback at USC.

Everything began to go south when point guard Quade Green was ruled scholastically ineligible and has only continued to magnify. It's been a total collapse.

"It's killing me," said Steve Olsen, a three-year starting guard for the Huskies in 1964-66.  "Everyone's blaming the coach, but I think it's the kids not performing, I don't think they play as a team. They make bad decisions."

As they line up for the opening tipoff on Saturday night, the Huskies will have gone 30 days without winning. A month of the morose.

Curiously, they haven't been totally embarrassed by anyone, losing by no more than 14 points all season, but it still feels like the bottom has gone out on them. Like they're a team that can't recover. 

Should Mike Hopkins' club drop the final six games of the regular schedule, its losing streak would match the longest in school history -- 13. The Huskies lost that many to close out the 2017 season and it cost Lorenzo Romar his job. 

"So many times when you struggle, there's always questions," Hopkins said. "What you really realize, too, is you're all in it together, and the only thing you have is each other."

The Huskies have suffered through nine losses in a row on three occasions, in 1941, 1954 and 1994. 

In '54, the UW was coming off its only Final Four appearance and dropped its first nine games of the season, and 14 of its first 15 games, and went on to finish 8-18. 

In '94, Bob Bender's first season as coach, the team lost nine consecutive games, and 15 of its first 17, and finished 5-22.

The UW lost eight consecutive games in 2001, another Bender season, with that team finishing 10-20. 

The current seven-game losing streak has happened four other times -- in 1917, 1946, 1991 and 2015. That covers two world wars. A national championship year for UW football. And the beginning of Romar's downfall, with that team finishing 16-15 after beginning the season 12-0.

Losing isn't very fun. Only winning can fix it.